Posts about Personalization

B2B content personalization: What’s the future?

Posted by Nilanjana on Jun 21, 2016 3:17:00 PM

Content personalization is all the rage and it looks like a trend that’s actually working quite well. Kissmetrics recently published a post based on the study done by Seismic and DemandMetric. They did a very comprehensive study on B2B marketing organizations’ experience with content personalization. The results are very promising, with 80% of the B2B marketers stating that personalized content has proved  to be much more effective than non-personalized content. 

If we take a look at the larger data set of ‘all marketers’,  only 55% of them are  leveraging content personalization, and that too since just the past two years or less. So the market is in its very early stages and still learning. However, with the rise of cross-channel content consumption, the stage is set for some innovative startups in this field. Marketers see targeting and personalization as their most important priority, as per  Adobe’s  2015 Digital Roadblock Survey. 

So, here are a few prominent trends that we are expecting in the field of content personalization:

Greater investment

Given that this is an emerging market, you’ve got to ask how large the spend would be in this space? Gartner, in its 2015–2016 study on spending, claimed marketing technology spending to surpass advertising. (Here’s a good summary). While I doubt this would be the case in B2C organizations, it is totally possible in the B2B environment. The spend is projected  to be around 43 billion dollars, and that’s surely a huge pie to go after. 

Better compatibility with your CMS

Marketing automation revolulized marketing industry in the early years of this decade. However, automated tailored email messages is the core offering in almost all the well known marketing automation platforms (Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot etc.). They bundle functionalities like personalization and A/B testing as additional, but not core offerings. These functions also do not get seamlessly coupled with you CMS (website), and that is an aspect that needs lot of work.

More complex personalization

While B2C personalization is largely focused on browsing behavior and content recommendations based on your purchasing behaviour, the B2B personalization ought to be much more complex in nature. CRM would host a bigger dataset, (than personalization or marketing automation engine) which can be used to provide a greater level of personalized user experience, that goes beyond mere content recommendations. Engagement with the content and presenting the right information would get more focus than transaction, since B2B is more than just  presenting the right product with the CTA placed at the right position.

There are a few players who have been going strong in this space. Demandbase has been focussing on this sector for long and leading the account based marketing category (I am sure they invented this category). With the recent acquisition of Spiderbook they seem to be on the forefront in this B2B marketing domain.

We need more players to fuel the innovation engine. Companies like Target and Amazon in the B2C industry proved that investing in understanding your consumers can lead to huge benefits. Now is the time when we see similar efforts being made in the B2B space.

Topics: Personalization

How to find out what your users like?

Posted by Nilanjana on Mar 25, 2014 3:05:00 PM

The answer to that question in the title is "I don't know". What am sharing here is one way to find that out: A/B Tests.

In our quest to create applications/portals that don't just look good but also help our clients meet their business objectives, we've been trying a few things lately. We just concluded one of our tests and thought to share the results and our learnings with everyone. 

The web is moving from having an online presence to getting results from that presence. For this very reason, the industry is moving from design that looks good towards design that works, and we've started running tests as well to figure out what actually works. The objective of this test, apart from increasing conversions for ourselves, was to use this learning in creating better products for our clients. 

For this test, we used one of the best tools available in the market, VisualWebsiteOptimizer. This tool is pretty easy to use and helps you run lots of test like A/B test, Split URL, Multivariate amongst others. Our marketing team had multiple theories revolving in our heads so we thought to test it out:

  1. Left vs Right [Placing the form on the right side will give better results?]

  2. Lesser number of fields [Convert more?]

So we went ahead and created 3 variations of our landing page. In the screenshots below: 

  1. Control is what the original version was

  2. Variation 1 had the form side switched to right. We also removed the phone number field in this variant

  3. Variation 2 had the form on the same side with 1 less field (removed phone number)

Control

Variation 16-588

7

Variation 28

The Results: Much to our surprise, our tests revealed that both the theories were wrong. Our original form gave us the best results. 

Conclusion: There is plenty of content around the web where people have written conclusively about right vs left, which color buttons, how many fields should a form have and so on. While you may have read lots of articles telling you what works and what doesnt, our answer is there is no right or wrong answer. What may work for us may not necessarily work for you. The best is to try it out yourself. 

How can you do it? 5 easy steps

  1. Figure out the objective that you want from your page

  2. Create a hypothesis as to what could be the governing factors behind the conversion

  3. Choose a tool like the one we recommended above. While you may say your technical team can implement this and you can save the tool costs, the reality is, often marketers get stuck because of this. The opportunity cost sometimes is much higher

  4. Run the tests till you have enough data that will help you get conclusive results 

  5. Implement the changes you derive from your tests!

Tip: If you are (re)doing a portal/application, a good practice is to always have 2-3 versions of your most important pages, home page and the conversion page in most cases, and then test them live. Let your users tell you what they want. Eventually we're developing stuff that our users should "like", aren't we?

Have you tried tests too? What's your experience been?

Topics: Drupal, Personalization

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